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Pimco Advisors Holdings LP won approval for a settlement of lawsuits filed by some of the limited partnership’s unitholders, who claimed they were being shortchanged in a $4 billion buyout of the bond-fund manager by European insurer Allianz AG. Delaware Vice Chancellor Stephen Lamb gave final approval for the settlement, under which Pimco unitholders agreed to drop their suits in exchange for the partnership’s willingness to chop the deal’s $180 million breakup fee by $60 million. The settlement also requires Pimco and Allianz officials to hand over more financial information about the buyout and guarantee that unitholders’ payments for their stakes wouldn’t drop below a certain level in case some of the company’s investments turn sour. Lamb also approved $1.5 million to cover investors’ legal fees and expenses in challenging Allianz’s offer. Newport Beach, Calif.-based Pimco agreed in October 1999 to be bought by Munich, Germany-based Allianz for $38.75 a share in cash. That represented about a 12 percent premium at the time of the offer. Pimco unitholders quickly filed six suits in the Delaware Chancery Court and one in state court in California claiming they weren’t getting enough for their stakes in the investment firm. In one Chancery Court lawsuit, unitholder John Sage alleged that Allianz had offered key Holding executives profit-sharing and retention bonuses. Sage charged that three members of the Holdings management board “suffer from serious conflicts of interest,” and agreed to “an unfair cash-out price for Holdings, a price which represents a very small premium over market.” Unitholders formally agreed to drop all their suits in March after the settlement was reached. Pimco officials have said a majority of unitholders already have approved the purchase. “The price to be paid is a full and fair price (and) terms of the settlement are fair, reasonable and adequate,” Lamb said at a hearing before approving the settlement and the legal fees. The approval of the settlement ends the Chancery Court lawsuits and the California litigation, according to court papers. Unitholders were represented in the case by Joseph A. Rosenthal of Wilmington’s Rosenthal Monhait Gross & Goddess. Other investors were represented by Steven Schulman of New York’s Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach and Marc A. Topaz and Gregory Castaldo of Bala Cynwyd, Pa.’s Schiffrin & Barroway. Pimco Advisors was represented by Jesse A. Finkelstein of Wilmington’s Richards Layton & Finger while Allianz was represented by David C. McBride of Wilmington’s Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor. Pacific Mutual Holding Co., Pimco’s parent company, was represented by Alan J. Stone of Wilmington’s Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell. The case was In Re Pimco Advisors Holdings L.P. Shareholder Litigation, Consolidated CA No. 17511.

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